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Chromium

by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Software
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What is Chromium

Chromium is an open-source web browser project[1] letting users design their own web browser. Its code makes the base for one of the most popular search tools – Google Chrome. Chromium was released in 2008, together with the first version of Chrome. The latest its version, 59.0, was presented in March 2017. It aimed to fix security issues and bugs.

The main idea of Chromium is to let anyone use the same code to create personalized, minimalist-looking web browser that feels light, stable and speedy at the same time. The most of those who have been tempted to try the code are convinced that Chrome invades their privacy and takes lots of RAM. However, not all of third party Chromium browser versions are equally safe a well.

If you are one of those who are still wondering what is Chromium, what are the main differences between it and Google Chrome and is it safe to use, continue reading.

Logo of Chromium browser

Chromium vs Chrome

The biggest difference between Chromium browser and Chrome is the amount of support and features. While using Chromium, you may find that some of extensions you want to add to the system are not allowed or that some of popular videos cannot be played. Besides, updates cannot be received automatically as well. More information about the main differences between these two web browsers are given below:

Google Chrome Chromium
Multicolored logo Blue logo
Monitored by Chrome developers Modified by distributors
Updated by Chrome automatically Updates depend on the developer
New releases are carefully tested Distributors can choose the testing depth of new releases 
Security Sandbox is active by default Sandbox depends on the developer
Crash reporting is active by default Crash reporting is not available
Usage-tracking feature  No user metrics feature available
Support for additional video formats  

No matter that Google Chrome and Chromium operate in almost the same manner, Chrome is still considered more convenient and effective. The only advantage of Chromium is the opportunity to customize it according to your needs. However, you must know what you are doing.

The top 3 open source web browsers

As we have already mentioned, Chromium was released with an intention to help users fill a well known browser with extra features. There are numerous legitimate Chromium-based browsers, having different functionality, security and privacy levels, and design. The most famous ones are Vivaldi, Comodo Dragon and Epic. 

Vivaldi

Image of Vivaldi web browser

Vivaldi is one of the latest Chromium-based browsers that was presented by Vivaldi Technologies. The company was launched by former CEO and co-founder of Opera Software, so the developer is definitely not a new comer.[2] Vivaldi's aim was to return the most of features that have been removed from Opera with its latest updates.

The most distinctive feature of this open source web browser is the amount of themes and modes offered to its users. They can change the background color, the start page, address bar, tab's position, and many other options. Vivaldi allows “stacking” and “tiling” tabs, adding notes to bookmarks and installing extensions developed for Google Chrome.

Main features:

  • Auto color changing 
  • Custom themes with scheduling
  • Tab stacking, tiling
  • Content blocker, color filters, CSS debugger
  • Custom keyboard shortcuts
  • Quick commands
  • etc.

Epic Browser

Image of Epic Privacy web browser

The main feature of Epic browser is privacy. Being developed by Hidden Reflex, this Chromium browser claims to be capable of helping users improve their security online so that they could forget a need to browse only when in incognito mode or with the help of VPN.

The main way how does Epic work relies on removing the entire browsing data right after being turned off. Having in mind that it does not store the following information, some users can seriously consider opting for Epic:

  • cookies
  • cache
  • history

Besides, Epic is known to rely on SLL connections, block tracking scripts and even encrypt your data to hide your location or help you access blocked websites.[3] Unfortunately, it is not compatible with password managers and may not work on some websites. The good news is that it is compatible with both, Windows and Mac OS X.

Comodo Dragon

Image of Comodo Dragon web browser

Another software developer using Chromium code to design its own web browser is Comodo Group. This developer is already known for years spent in making security software, IT management platforms and similar solutions.

According to them, the main reason why users should opt for Comodo Dragon browser is its provided security. Besides, they promise the fastest search engine and extra-friendly user interface.[4] Unfortunately, at the moment Epic is compatible only with Windows.

How does this Chromium browser improve users' security online? Most importantly, it does not enable Chrome's user tracking, search suggestions and other questionable features actively used by this famous search tool. Besides, it relies on websites' SSL certificate to measure their trustworthiness. Its GUI is very similar to this browser, so you won't feel lost after downloading it. 

Image of Chromium browsers

The tendency of rogue Chromium browsers 

While some developers have been in a rush to create web browsers filled with improved features, others have already took advantage of the open source code to release rogue search tools. Security experts have already noticed a new tendency – the appearance of malicious Chromium browsers, e.g. Chromium virus.

Unfortunately, many users have no idea that they are dealing with potentially unwanted programs[5] pretending to be legitimate and safe to use Chromium-based browsers.[6] However, you should definitely remember these names and stay away from them on the Internet:

Each of these programs can put your privacy and security at risk. Besides, they can initiate unwanted changes on the system, cause crashes while browsing on the web and initiate other problems. Thus, bogus Chromium browser removal is highly recommended. Fortunately, these fake tools can be uninstalled either manually or automatically.

Noticing Chromium virus

The majority of rogue Chromium web browsers are promoted as tools helping users enhance their browsing experience, provide the most accurate search results or protect their privacy. Usually, developers of these programs claim to be related to Google or official Chromium project by using their credentials, design and similar details.

However, the analysis of these applications has revealed that they operate as potentially unwanted programs, not as useful programs. The main negative features related to such programs are: 

  1. Spreading in software bundles. Typically, fake Chromium browsers are promoted in freeware or shareware packages. Therefore, incorrect installation of free programs might lead the installation of the unwanted browser as well. It may happen when installing software using Quick/Recommended settings which do not openly disclose about additional components.
  2. Data tracking. Rogue Chromium browser usually tracks user’s activities online. They collect search queries, browsing history, IP address, location, and similar non-personally identifiable details. Note that there’s always a chance that they might try to steal sensitive data, including logins, passwords or credit card information.
  3. Delivery of aggressive advertisements. These corrupted browsers are also capable of delivering an increased amount of online ads. Data tracking activities allow building user’s profile and providing targeted ads that users are more likely to click.

    An excessive amount of ads diminishes browsing experience. They might cover necessary content or whole browser’s screen, do not have active close (X) button and redirect to commercial websites. However, some of these ads might include malicious content or redirect to scam or phishing websites.

If you have been dealing with any of these negative features, you should note that there is a huge chance that you have become a victim of malicious Chrome browser. Keeping such program on the system can additionally lead you to financial loss or identity theft. Thus, it’s important to remove Chromium browser immediately.

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About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

Jake Doevan is one of News Editors for 2-spyware.com. He graduated from the Washington and Jefferson College , Communication and Journalism studies.

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